All three of my sources related to the "It Gets Better" Project and discuss the different ways that gay teens either survive or strive in certain environments. Some are examples of those that have not survived the anti-gay bullying they have been subjected to: those that were not allowed to strive because they took their own lives. One critiques the project as a whole and discusses how some are able to strive more than others because of their privilege.
1. Title: "It Gets Better, I Promise!" by Jamey Rodemeyer
2. Author: Jamey Rodemeyer
3. Summary: This is a video submission to the "It Gets Better" Project, founded by Dan Savage in response to the onslaught of suicides of gay teenagers because of anti-gay bullying. This video is particularly significant in the terrible irony that Jamey is discouraging kids to kill themselves when he in fact ended his life on September 18th, 2011. My choice of this video may seem odd considering my words are "surviving and thriving." I chose to highlight this video to define surviving and thriving by first defining what it is not. Jamey's message is one that encourages thriving, but he was unable to do so because of being constantly degraded and demeaned through the bullying of his peers. Jamey's message is one of hope, and even though he was unable to survive and thrive, he wishes it for anyone who was dealing with similar issues that he dealt with because of being "othered" and labeled as different.
4. Jamey quotes Lady Gaga's song, "Born This Way," a song about empowering yourself through knowing who you are and and accepting and loving yourself for it. In researching his other YouTube videos, he is heavily inspired by the singer and claims that she is the reason he is (was) still alive. She acted as an incredible motivator for him to be strong against bullying and the discrimination he felt. I find there to be important intersections between the It Gets Better Project and the release of Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Gaga's overarching theme is that because you were born the way you are, you have no reason to apologize for it or need to justify it. She then advocates loving yourself regardless of what others say to you or think of you. The "It Gets Better" Project encourages young people to stand strong in their beliefs and who they are so that one day, it can get better for them. They advocate literally staying alive long enough for your life to get better, which they promise it can and will. Both of these advocate for people to accept themselves and love themselves for who they are. Lady Gaga also does a chilling tribute to Jamey in her performance at the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFUfK8rP34U
5. I first heard of Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide on Twitter. The Gaga community was up in arms about losing one of its own and started trending things like #RIPJamey. Several days later, the media caught on and his suicide was a major news story. His "It Gets Better" video followed and was on blogs all over the internet, which is where I came across it.
6. Rodemeyer, Jamey. "It Gets Better, I Promise." YouTube. 4 May 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.
1. Title: Does It Really Get Better? A Conscientious Critique
2. Author: Jason Tseng
3. Jason Tseng brings up the valid point that for many gay teens, it simply does not get better. He points out the privilege that Dan Savage has and recognizes that many don't have such privilege. While he praises the "It Gets Better" Project for having a great and important message, he thinks that we need to critique certain elements of the gay community that it suggests teens become apart of. He notes the considerable racism that followed the Proposition 8 controversy, which turned out to be disproven. He also notes that the "It Gets Better" Project gives a seemingly single track for which gay teens should follow into becoming good card carrying homosexuals.
4. I think that it is important to point out the difference between queer teens that "survive" high school/college and those that thrive later in life. Simply surviving may be full of pain and angst while thriving in an environment would mean excelling at many aspects of life. Tseng points out that some simply survive high school and that it might even get worse throughout college. Tseng also notes that Savage has certainly thrived, for which he congratulated him for, but also recognized that that isn't the case for everyone.
5. I found this source by searching for critiques of the "It Gets Better" Project and found a variety of critques. I found this one to be particularly applicable because of the distinction the author makes between simply surviving and thriving.
6. Tseng, Jason. "Does It Really Get Better? A Conscientious Critique." Web log post. The Bilerco Project. 3 Oct. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2011.
1. Title: Tyler Clementi's Death: We're All Part of the Problem
2. Author: Gareth Higgins
3. Summary: Gareth Higgins wants us to all take an introspective look and ask ourselves if we have in any way contributed to the suicide of a gay teen. He suggests that if we have even remained silent while someone was put down because of their sexuality, we are complicit in creating hate and bullying. He himself admits that he has been part of the problem and that we can all make improvements towards making everyone will safe and comfortable in their own skin.
4. Higgins provides a link to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Project as a suggestion of what to do with the story of Tyler Clementi's death. Higgins is discussing a story in which a young gay teen could not survive his college years after his roommate filmed his date with another male student, without his knowledge.
5. I found this article while searching for analyses of the "It Gets Better" Project on Google, as I was unable to find anything on Google Scholar that related to my topic.
6. Higgings, Gareth. "Tyler Clementi's Death: We're All A Part of the Problem." The Huffington Post 7 Oct. 2010. Print.